Coding languages have possibilities outside of straightforward readings by computers. In December, a group of students at Stanford University organized the university’s first Code Poetry Slam. The event focused on alternative uses of code by humans and computers and is likely the first of future Code Poetry Slams. The event was organized by Melissa Kagen, a graduate student in German Studies.
Code Poetry may be defined in more than one way. Kagen explains, “It can be a piece of text that can be read as code and run as program, but also read as poetry. It can mean a human language poetry that has mathematical elements and codes in it, or even code that aims for elegant expression within severe constraints, like a haiku or a sonnet, or code that generates automatic poetry. Poems that are readable to humans and readable to computers perform a kind of cyborg double coding.”
Michael Widner, a scholar who specializes in the study of both medieval and machine languages, said that “when we realize that coding is a creative act, we not only value that part of the coder’s labor, but we also realize that the technologies in which we swim have assumptions and ideologies behind them that, perhaps, we should challenge.”
Image by Maria Lage from the Stanford Report